Thursday, October 8, 2015

All hyped up and nowhere to go

Earlier today I read an article decrying the stupidity of the Hydrogen car. Of course, the article had many kind things to say about electric cars, while ignoring that many of the issues they had with hydrogen vehicles are also problems facing owners of electric vehicles. Let's face it, both plug-in electric and hydrogen electric vehicles rely heavily on fossil fuels at some point to obtain their energy.

Either way, buying a car is not a truly "green" thing to do. Think about it: to build any car, resources must be mined or extracted, processed, and formed into the various parts. The larger the car, the more resources are needed. Certainly, recycled items are now being used for plastic parts in some cars, but that's just a small piece of the pie. Even the smallest cars available here in the states require more resources than any scooter.

Scooters and small bikes, like the Honda Grom pictured above, use fewer resources to make, not to mention the resources needed for operation and maintenance. Thinking that you're doing a favor to the environment by buying a car, is a delusion. Frankly, thinking you're doing a favor to the environment by buying a bike is only marginally less deluded, but still has less impact in the long run simply by nature of the substantially smaller amount of resources needed.

Scooters and small bikes are versatile, inexpensive, and practical transportation. Most passenger cars carry one person most of the time. This just does not seem practical to me, which is why I personally rely on my scooter far more than my car. It just doesn't make sense to run a five passenger vehicle that gets 20ish mpg when a scoot will get me (and sometimes the dog too), to whichever destination is needful. Certainly, there are times that a car is preferred, such as blizzard and monsoon conditions, but even then (as previously discussed in my Nissan Leaf overview), an electric or hydrogen car would cost more in the long run than I could easily justify.

Hydrogen vehicles may eventually get less expensive, but for now, they cost about as much as electric cars which makes them little more than a political fashion statement. I'm a simple guy and can't make that kind of statement on my income, so I'll stick to my 14 year old Jag (she turns 14 this month), and my lovely Honda PCX.

Sure, scooters aren't the equivalent of the popular kid in school. Some might even think them to be the geek or nerd, but in the end, geeks and nerds tend to have a future past highschool. Electric and hydrogen cars are popular with people who want us to think we should be "saving the planet." I know, as do my many bikey friends, that those of us on two wheels can stifle a laugh when the pious Prius driver's pass with their cages festooned in earthy-crunchy-save-the-planet bumper stickers. We know that their "carbon footprint" is a sasquatch's compared to the tiny rabbit trail we leave.


kz1000st said...

I have to agree that you can save energy and take up less space on two wheels but I'm not sold on the scooter as the ideal two wheeler. The Honda Rebel has required much, much less maintenance than the 250cc scooter. Tires dissolve quicker on the scooter, belts last half to one third as long as a chain and oil changes are much more frequent since scooters carry less oil that must be changed more frequently. We could also argue which clutch will last longer but that's just getting carried away.
Granted a scooter or motorcycle has tremendous advantages in fuel savings and saving wear and tear on the car. Keep in mind that many autos are topping 300,000 miles these days while a scooter or motorcycle is getting near the end of days North of 50,000 miles. At that point disposing of it becomes problematic. The parts are generally too worn to recycle and bikes seem to pile up in storage facilities.

Deb said...

I have come to a situation where I currently live and work where I am not dependent on a car anymore. I can ride the scooter, the bicycle, or walk to where I work and to where I grocery shop. Even if I need car repairs I can walk home from the shop and wait to be called.

This summer I only used one tank of gas in the old Honda CRV and I only rode in it on a few day outings with my other half, who does not ride a scooter. Otherwise I am scooting, walking, or cycling.

I have aspired to live this way for awhile and it is so much more enjoyable and I feel like I am finally "car free" for all practical purposes.

It is a good feeling!